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My 54th Street (Hell's Kitchen) studio, ca. 1998. Left hand image(s): Pipes 2,
1998, laser prints and linen tape, 88" X 78", previously exhibited here
. The work on the right is untitled, same media. Each piece is essentially a giant paper quilt made of approx. three by five inch rectangles of xerox-printed paper taped together on the back (the linen tape is starchy and moistened when applied; when it dries it forms a "kite frame" of plaster-like strips that give the piece a sense of volume perceptible from the front). The big one hangs loosely on the wall, the small one is folded around a stretcher. Perhaps you can see where a group exhibition of black and white, repeating, Op art-like patterns, computer-made, with a kind of "jenky" outsider craft focus, would interest me. The "pipes" were originally intended to be cut out and used as struts or sticks for the molecules I was making, but I discovered that when placed side by side, they created intense, fairly painful optical vibration (not visible in these polaroid scans). These, and the allover patterns of spheres I was doing simultaneously, are what lead to my investigation and reworking of Op art rhetoric and ultimately my involvement in the "post-hypnotic" exhibition.
"p-h" traveled around the U.S. but never made it to NY. It would have been a hard sell here. I knew the idea of a (multiply-recontextualized) Op pseudo-revival was doomed when I read Roberta Smith's review of the Bridget Riley show at Dia. I'm paraphrasing here, but Smith basically said that Riley was tainted by her association with artists who would be forever on the margins, "especially in anti-Op New York." Wow, opposition to Op art is institutionalized here! Or was that another way of saying "anti-Op Roberta"? Considering the predominance of Op-like patterns in "The Infinite Fill Show," I guess it took the "teen bedroom angle" to override Roberta's dislike of the form and/or perception that it was discredited. Or, less cynically, maybe it was just the overwhelming evidence that artists find it more interesting than she does. [reposted from a few days ago with modifications.]